Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 is a title utterly in service to its fans, providing enough relevant content to keep them amused but very little for anyone else. However, even fans will struggle to find long-term enjoyment from what’s on offer. Despite a huge roster of characters – 90 in total – and the voices and aesthetic from the anime, the experience is too shallow and repetitive to deliver a sustainable level of fun.
Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 does manage to entertain initially. The story campaign allows you to pick a character and lead them along multiple paths on your quest to overall victory. One path may have harder fights but less of them, whilst the other path has more opponents but they’re easier fights. It’s nice to a have a bit of choice and your first run through of a character’s campaign feels fresh for the addition. However, each campaign is a short journey of repetitive spectacle battles and a colourful spectrum of opponents. It becomes apparent early on that what you’ve seen in your first two battles are all that’s on offer for the many more you’re expected to struggle through.
The A.I is vicious and brutal on anything above easy difficulty, and will be all over you like a rabid dog if given an opening. In the blink of an eye it’ll have your character rocketing through the sky after having suffered a remarkable beating, leaving you frantically bashing buttons to revive yourself before you return the favour in the exact same way. It becomes almost turn based in beatings, with the winner being the one to perform and dish out the most sustained one. Sure, skilful execution of the vast moves available will shift this to-and-fro in your favour but learning the intricate combos and special moves is a monumental task, and unfortunately button mashing as a quality all of its own, which is especially irritating against human opponents. It’s bordering on broken when button mashing can break thoughtful strategies so easily, but it does feel great to pull off one of the special moves and watch the spectacle, regardless of how you pulled it off. It’s fantastically grandiloquent. Over the top moves, projectile fire balls and energy attacks, and full 3D movement where you can even fly around as you do battle. It offers one hell of an experience initially but all this charm and spectacle is soon lost.
The problem is it’s immensely repetitive. Fights all feel very similar, increasing in difficulty and unfairness until your selected character has completed his story sequence. Then it’s back to the roster to do it all again for one of the other 90 characters. Unlocking all the characters is also an absolute grind, taking an obsessive level of commitment in time. You’re also horribly aware of how futile unlocking them all really is. Characters lack individuality beyond their appearance with standard moves being mostly the same and even special moves repeat a little too often. It rarely feels different from one character to the next and the effort to play as your favourite character is hard to muster as a result. Of course with a roster this large this is to be expected to a certain degree, but unfortunately Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 falls into the pit of re-skinned clones and repetitive grind far too often.
Whichever character disguise you wear you’ll be battling it out in large open environments with a decent amount of variety. Grassy planes, volcanic outcrops and islands floating in the sky are but a few of the available battlegrounds. They look very two dimensional and basic with textures lacking detail and the colour palette is almost primary, but it fits with the anime aesthetic so is mostly forgivable. Characters on the other hand look terrific. Highly detailed and fully 3D characters standout extremely strong against the droll backdrops, and the particle effects from their attacks further impress. It complements the spectacle Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 is trying to convey brilliantly, and when compared against the character models of the first games it’s unrecognisable; it’s a leap in visual quality.
You first few fights will be thrilling with the shifting from ground to air combat, and if you’re a fan of the anime then there some appeal about the setup, but don’t expect the joy to last for long. In the end it fails to build sustainable and functional fighting mechanics and despite an online mode for longevities sake, the issue spreads to it and ruins the fun there as well. It’s a good idea wrapped up mediocrity.
MLG Rating: 5/10
Platform: Playstation 3 (Xbox 360) Release Date: 05/11/10
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on a PS3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.